REVIEW: Ruffles Lime & Jalapeno Potato Chips

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips

What are Ruffles Lime & Jalapeno Potato Chips?

They’re lime and jalapeno-flavored Ruffles, of course, and the output of the first-ever “Chip Deal” between NBA All-Star Anthony Davis and Snack Food Company All-Star, Ruffles.

Why didn’t they name this a “partnerCHIP”? Talk about a missed opportunity.

Do I imagine, in my blind optimistic ignorance, Anthony Davis in a lab coat tasting chips and giving feedback like, “No, not enough lime. Season it more!”? Of course, I do. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Let’s assume that’s how these were made and pray that Ruffles will eventually release that B-roll footage as a media play.

How are they?

I have definitely taken down an entire bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips in my youth (also by Frito Lay), so I was hopeful the citrus flavor would hold up in this version.

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips 2

The chips appear evenly seasoned with “Lime and Jalapeno seasoning” that includes visible green flecks, which I’m assuming are dehydrated jalapenos and spices. I was also impressed with how remarkably accurate the front of pack picture was. I had several chips inside my bag that looked identical in seasoning coverage.

The upfront flavor is exactly what lime-chip lovers would expect, bright, fresh, clean citrus flavor that makes your mouth water but also leaves you wanting another chip indefinitely forever. Mmmm…delicious addiction.

Ruffles Lime  Jalapeno Potato Chips 3

The jalapeno flavor tastes like peppers, not just heat, which is something not all “hot” chips get right. The lime flavor passes to the pepper flavor for the assist and leaves you with a lingering natural heat. Perfect.

Is there anything else you need to know?

This release came with three exclusive bag designs, and a sneaker called the Ruffles Ridge Tops. Ruffles has teased in several press releases that we can expect to see more from the A.D./Ruffles Chip Deal, and I have to say, they’re off to a solid start.

Conclusion:

These chips are a slam dunk. Yes, I heard your eyes roll just now. But, unless you hate lime-flavored things, these are worth a try. They’re nicely balanced and aren’t artificial tasting at all. Anthony Davis signed his name to a good one here.

Purchased Price: 2/$5 special
Size: 8.5 oz. bag

Purchased at:
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (14 chips/28g) 150 Calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reuben Pringles

Reuben Pringles

There are people out there who reject rye bread, cold-shoulder corned beef, swear against Swiss and sauerkraut, and “thank you next” Thousand Island dressing. But those people can’t deny that when these ingredients come together, the result is a delicious Reuben sandwich.

Given its flavor complexity, I was eager to see how it would be executed with the new Reuben Pringles.

First things first, this package stays true to the hilarious anthropomorphized Pringle format by featuring a lone crisp sitting at a deli counter with bib affixed and ready to snarf down a Reuben, which is larger than the Pringle itself. In case anyone was wondering, my second favorite anthropomorphized Pringle artwork is the Dill Pickle flavor.

Reuben Pringles 2

When you pop (the fun don’t stop) the top off this Pringles tube, the first thing you’ll smell is rye bread. It’s an overwhelmingly spot on caraway rye aroma. Glancing inside the container, the crisps appear lightly seasoned, but at closer inspection, they look that way because one of the two visible powders is white. Because the other powder was a maroon color, I was hoping this meant these would have a unique corned beef taste.

Reuben Pringles 3

The flavor is really interesting. First, I got an oniony kraut, then a savory nuttiness that I guess is a blend of corned beef and Swiss. Then it was THOUSAND ISLAND TIME as the dressing taste comes through STRONG. If Pringles could partner with McDonald’s to do a Big Mac variety, I think they’d nail it by combining this Thousand Island seasoning and its previous cheeseburger item. The lingering aftertaste is pure caraway rye, and then this flavor roller coaster is over.

Reuben Pringles 4

Overall, I was slightly let down by the sauerkraut and corned beef not being more distinct and thought the overall flavor could have been stronger. For this reason, I think being “Limited Edition” is appropriate for this crisp. I liked it once but probably wouldn’t add it to the standard rotation.

I definitely don’t think Pringles did anything wrong by the Reuben in making this crisp! In fact, the flavors they were able to pack in are pretty impressive. If you like Thousand Island, you’ll like this. The sauerkraut wasn’t completely distinct, but they didn’t miss the mark, so if more kraut varieties show up, I’ll be hunting them down.

Purchased Price: $3/5 (sale)
Size: 5.2 oz. can
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 crisps/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips

I feel certain there’s a chapter in the anthologies of Snacking Americana dedicated to Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot.

This iconic seasoning, which started on the hallowed Cheeto, has now donned the surface of nearly every chip, crisp, and crunchy snack the company produces. In 2019, Forever 21 even launched a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Collection and rumors of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos origin story movie spread like, well, wildfire.

The challenge in this frenzy of Flamin’ Hot obsession is for the snack company to launch new products that aren’t just flavored with the seasoning but offer a different eating experience from the fire truck red snacks that have already been bestowed upon us. Enter, Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips Closeup

Their appearance immediately lives up to expectation. They are BRIGHT RED and look to be fully coated in the Flamin’ Hot seasoning, true to the front-of-bag image. It also seems like more of the chips are completely covered in the seasoning as compared to the plain Lay’s Flamin’ Hot. Maybe that has to do with the kettle cook method and how the seasoning clings to oil? I’m not sure, but it definitely adds to their appeal.

So, do they hold up to the tried and true Flamin’ Hot fame?

Oh, hell yeah. These chips rock.

As was previously mentioned in other TIB reviews, the flat chip shape (compared to the Cheeto shape) means that you can place a full crunchy layer of fiery flavored madness over your entire tongue at once. With a Cheeto, there’s way less available surface area, and your teeth take most of the direct hit. With these chips, the flavor is intense right away, in the best way. I also think the kettle cooked texture delivers a more satisfying crunch than plain potato chips. I’m surprised this variety didn’t launch sooner.

I was particularly happy with the cheesiness that comes through, a flavor which is lacking in the Lay’s Flamin’ Hot traditional potato chip variety. After going through a few historic Flamin’ Hot launches, it looks like “cheddar cheese” moves around in the ingredient line, sometimes not present at all. My recommendation to Frito-Lay would be to keep it in any future products because it adds a critical flavor element.

The cheesiness balances the heat beautifully and, when combined with the sturdy crunch of a kettle cooked chip, makes this one of the best all-around chips I’ve had in a long time. It was hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting. And of course, your fingers will be left with the signature Flamin’ Hot red Cheetle.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips Cheetle??I will say, the one ever so slightly negative thing I have to say about these is that five minutes after eating about two servings worth, my tongue went numb to any other flavors for roughly half an hour. I’m no stranger to spicy things, so this surprised me a little, but didn’t bother me much at all. These chips are worth it.

Upholding their Flamin’ Hot family legacy, these kettle cooked chips receive my most heartfelt 10/10 rating and earnest recommendation for your snacking needs in 2020.

Purchased Price: $3.18
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Yoplait Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix Smoothies

Yoplait Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix Smoothies

What are Yoplait Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix Smoothies?

More cereal-themed crossovers! This time, yogurt drinks! Actually, no, technically this time “cultured dairy beverage”! YUM!

With all these branded crossovers, 2020 has me wondering, are cereal brands and candy brands the consumer goods version of The Avengers? Is this the year we get so fully inundated by crossovers that the only remaining option is an Endgame-style product that contains them all? Did I just make such a weakly constructed comic reference that caused half of you to angry? POSSIBLY!??

How are they?

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Yoplait Trix Smoothies

The Trix smoothie is remarkably close in flavor to its cereal counterpart. I suppose we have the magic of modern flavor technology to thank for that. Although it LOOKS like a glass full of Pepto Bismol (maybe there’s a fun April Fools trick buried in there somewhere), the smoothie has a pleasant strawberry lemon fruity flavor and an enjoyable Trixmilk after taste.

The tangy cultured yogurt works really well with the fruit flavors, in my opinion. The texture is smooth, creamy, and very drinkable. My only qualm is that its so sweet you’d think you were gulping down Trix-flavored frosting.

Yoplait Cinnamon Toast Crunch Smoothie

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch beverage smells exactly like opening a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal and has delightful little visible specs of cinnamon. I’m also a sucker for the psycho/adorable cinnamon toast square cartoon characters the brand has adopted recently.

The flavor isn’t as strong in cinnamon as I would have expected, and because of that, I don’t think it matches the cereal flavor as well as the Trix version does. This one is sort of like a yogurt horchata. There’s a stronger, blander, vanilla yogurt taste.

Is there anything else you need to know?

SHOOGAARR!!!

Both smoothies are surprisingly tasty. However, each drink has nearly double the sugar as a serving of their cereal counterpart. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to sugar guilt anybody. I just think I’d rather have a double serving of either cereal than drink one of these smoothies again. Maybe if you like, can’t chew things and still want to taste your favorite cereals? Yeah, that works.

Conclusion:

These drinks were, for the most part, accurate in flavor, but incredibly sweet. They’re certain to give you a sugar rush, which might be what you’re looking for to propel you into 2020 and the inevitable cereal flavor mashups we have left ahead of us to taste.

Purchased Price: $4.99 each
Size: 4 – 7 fl oz bottles
Purchased at: Mariano’s (owned by Kroger)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Trix), 4 out of 10 (Cinnamon Toast Crunch)
Nutrition Facts: (1 smoothie) Trix – 160 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Cinnamon Toast Crunch – 160 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Peanuts & Reese’s Pieces Bar

Hershey s Milk Chocolate Peanuts  Reese s Pieces Bar

I feel it’s accurate to say Reese’s is having a cultural moment.

Over the past 18 months, that tantalizing yellow, brown, and orange color combination has popped up across a multitude of sweet treats, whispering perfect peanut butter promises into our ears. In the never-ending (not a bad thing) parade of every conceivable ratio of peanut butter to chocolate (Peanut Butter Lovers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Reese’s Pieces, the Take5 rebranding, etc.) comes the GIANT sized Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Peanuts & Reese’s Pieces Bar.

Hershey s Milk Chocolate Peanuts  Reese s Pieces Bar Comparison

Hershey s Milk Chocolate Peanuts  Reese s Pieces Bar Comparison 2

We reviewed the original 1.55 oz. Hershey’s & Reese’s Pieces bar in November 2018 (shout out Denis). This new GIANT version is different in that it’s, well, GIANT, and includes both Reese’s Pieces and peanuts. Knowing that the concept of ratios would be important here, I also picked up the “King Size” version of the peanut-less bar to compare. What can I say, I’m empathetic to a middle child.

Hershey s Milk Chocolate Peanuts  Reese s Pieces Bar Comparison 3

The GIANT bar is clearly still using mini Reese’s Pieces. And, on cross-section, I can definitely also see the peanut pieces. There was the same delightful crunch from the candy pieces and the higher ratio of chocolate to inclusions in the GIANT bar made the overall flavor more balanced. The peanuts didn’t come through as strongly as the Reese’s Pieces.

Hershey s Milk Chocolate Peanuts  Reese s Pieces Bar Back

My biggest issue with this bar is that I’m not sold on the graphics and description. Based on the packaging, I would expect the chocolate in this bar to be Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, but it definitely tastes different. There isn’t a clear ingredient line culprit to prove my suspicions, but the chocolate in the GIANT Peanuts & Reese’s Pieces bar is lighter in color and has WAY less cocoa flavor.

The chocolate in this bar is a lot more reminiscent of a Mr. Goodbar, but I’m not sure if that’s a flavor difference from the added peanut pieces, or if Hershey’s actually used different chocolate.

Overall, I think the GIANT version of this new(ish) candy mash-up is the best ratio of the three available sizes. If you’re looking for that true Hershey’s milk chocolate flavor, you’re not going to be completely satisfied. But, if you think the Mr. Goodbar is underappreciated, you might just love this.

Purchased Price: $2.24 (Giant)
Size: 7 oz. bar
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/6 of bar or 33 grams) 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 mg of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte

Dunkin Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte

While other coffee chains attempt to dominate the autumnal flavor board, Dunkin’s New Signature Latte line-up takes a commanding stronghold of classic winter holiday flavors. One of its four new varieties, available hot or cold, is the Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte, which features “the flavors of gingerbread, marshmallow and chocolate all in one cup, topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cinnamon sugar.”

I’ll be completely transparent here, I bought this drink twice, and I’m still not sure I’ve had the website description of this beverage. But look, I get it, seasonal menus are difficult with unique flavors, special prep instructions, and stress!

Dunkin Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte First Latte

The first version of the Toasted Gingerbread Latte I received had nothing on top. No whipped cream, no drizzle, no cinnamon sugar. It was overwhelmingly sweet and tasted like a lightly spiced hot chocolate. If I got this at a freezing cold football game, I wouldn’t be mad, but I was definitely missing any trace of the traditional gingerbread flavor (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, etc).

Dunkin Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte 2nd

Feeling like surely something had gone wrong, I tried a second Dunkin’ location a few days later and received an entirely different beverage. This time, there was whipped topping, chocolate drizzle (the website says this was supposed to be caramel, but I didn’t mind this modification), and a cinnamon spice sprinkle topping. Again, I’m not sure this was “correct” either, but it was a massive improvement from the first attempt.

Dunkin Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte 2nd Top

This second version of the Toasted Gingerbread Latte had a much stronger spice flavor both in the drink and from the cinnamon sugar topping. It was still ridiculously sweet and could pass more as gingerbread spice hot chocolate, with almost no coffee taste coming through. It was much more enjoyable with any type of topping accoutrements. I do think Dunkin’ could have done more with the notion of “toasted” (maybe if it was made with oatmilk?), and I would have loved more molasses flavor. But all-in-all, this wasn’t a total miss.

If you’re a fan of sweet drinks, holiday spice, and random barista surprises (because WHO KNOWS how this drink is really supposed to be made), go ahead and roll the dice to see what your local Dunkin’ decides the Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte is. Maybe try one every day in December like an Advent Calendar surprise!

Purchased Price: $3.08
Size: Small
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small made with whole milk) 300 calories, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 39 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.